LMH Unit Focuses on Rehabilitation Close to Home
by Janice Early, Lawrence Memorial Hospital Vice Pres. Marketing & Communicaions
Patients affected by stroke, hip fractures and other debilitating illnesses or injuries are finding hope for returning to a normal lifestyle with the help of the acute rehabilitation unit at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The 12-bed unit is known as the Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness.
After serving patients needing intensive levels of therapy to help them return to their activities of daily living for 15 years, the unit soon will be undergoing a major facelift. Starting May 9, patients on the fourth floor will be moved to the third floor so that construction work can begin. The renovation, which is expected to last about 10 months and cost about $4 million, is being supported in part by community donations. So far, about $1.6 million has been donated to the LMH Endowment Association to help with the project.
Program Director Jaye Cole said the Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness is looking forward to the physical enhancements. But the philosophy of the unit will not change. “Acute rehabilitation prepares patients to return home,” she said. “The goal is to return the patient home as functionally independent as possible,” she said. “We work intensively on the essentials, such as walking, dressing, bathing, feeding, even swallowing.”
Staffed by physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, speech pathologists, social workers and round-the-clock nurses trained in rehabilitation, the unit relies on a strong interdisciplinary team approach to recovery. Physicians work closely with the staff through daily updates and weekly team meetings to devise a plan of treatment and a plan of discharge for each patient.
The team approach not only applies to the staff, but to the patients, as well. Patients work together during therapy sessions, and all patients dine together at a structured mealtime. Cole said the group format offers countless benefits.
“We try to simulate the home environment and make the unit not so institutionalized,” she said. “It really helps patients to see others at a higher level of recovery than themselves. And the social interaction actually helps some patients heal faster.”
Cole believes the program can improve the quality of life in Lawrence and its surrounding communities. With an expected average length of stay of 10 to 12 days, many patients can return home and resume a somewhat normal routine. That is an accomplishment Cole finds very rewarding. She said the rehabilitative approach has an important dimension to the continuum of services available.
Medical Director Shari Quick, MD, agreed, stating that the acute rehab unit does more than just correct an underlying medical problem; it creates strategies and techniques to help patients deal with their medical problems. Dr. Quick is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and serves as attending physician for patients on the unit.
“The Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness enhances the continuum of care here in Lawrence,” Dr. Quick says. “Even if patients have to be transferred to Topeka or Kansas City for acute services we don’t offer at LMH, they don’t have to stay there for their rehabilitation. They can return here and recover close to home knowing they will be receiving excellent care.”
Some of the disabling illnesses or injuries treated at the Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness at LMH include:
- Hip fractures and replacements
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Closed head injury
- Neuropathy and myopathy
- Spinal cord Injury
- Peripheral nerve injury
- Multiple trauma
Admission criteria include:
- Significant functional limitations due to illness or accident
- Medical stability
- Need for more than one therapy (physical, occupational or speech) at least three hours per day/five days a week
- Willingness and ability to participate
- Potential to improve function or achieve independence
For more information about the Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness at LMH, visit lmh.org/acuterehab or call (785) 505-6470.
Janice Early, MBA, is Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She can be reached at email@example.com.